Remarks at the
Republican National Convention in
The President. Madam Chairman,
delegates to the convention, and fellow citizens, thank you for that warm and
generous welcome. Nancy and I have been enjoying the finest of Southern
hospitality since we arrived here yesterday. And believe me, after that
reception I don't think the ``Big Easy'' has ever been bigger than it has
tonight. And with all due respect to Cajun cuisine cooking and
I want to invoke executive privilege to talk for a moment about a very special
lady who has been selfless not just for our party but for the entire Nation.
She is a strong, courageous, compassionate woman; and wherever she's gone, here
people tell me that I became President on
Just a moment ago, you multiplied the honor with a moving tribute, and being only human, there's a part of me that would like to take credit for what we've achieved. But tonight, before we do anything else, let us remember that tribute really belongs to the 245 million citizens who make up the greatest -- and the first -- three words in our Constitution: ``We the People.'' It is the American people who endured the great challenge of lifting us from the depths of national calamity, renewing our mighty economic strength, and leading the way to restoring our respect in the world. They are an extraordinary breed we call Americans. So, if there's any salute deserved tonight, it's to the heroes everywhere in this land who make up the doers, the dreamers, and the lifebuilders without which our glorious experiment in democracy would have failed.
convention brings back so many memories to a fellow like me. I can still
remember my first Republican convention: Abraham Lincoln giving a speech that
-- [laughter] -- sent tingles down my spine. No, I have to confess, I wasn't
actually there. The truth is, way back then, I belonged to the other party.
[Laughter] But surely we can remember another convention. Eight years ago, we
year, it was our dream that together we could rescue
years ago, we met at a time when
we came to
Industrial production was down, and productivity was down for 2 consecutive years. The average weekly -- you missed me. [The President referred to a background noise.] [Laughter] The average weekly wage plunged 9 percent. The median family income fell 5\1/2\ percent. Facts are stubborn things.
friends on the other side had actually passed the single highest tax bill in
the 200-year history of the
then there was the misery index. That was an election year gimmick they
designed for the 1976 campaign. They added the unemployment and inflation
rates. And it came to 13.4 percent in 1976, and they declared that our
candidate, Jerry Ford, had no right to seek re-election with that kind of
misery index. But 4 years later, in the 1980 campaign, they didn't mention the
misery index. Do you suppose it was because it was no longer 13.4 percent? In
those 4 years it had become almost 21 percent. And last month, in
we met in
When our friends last month talked of unemployment, despair, hopelessness, economic weakness, I wondered why on Earth they were talking about 1978 instead of 1988.
And now we hear talk that it's time for a change. Well, ladies and gentlemen, another friendly reminder: We are the change. We rolled up our sleeves and went to work in January of 1981. We focused on hope, not despair. We challenged the failed policies of the past because we believed that a society is great not because of promises made by its government but only because of progress made by its people. And that was our change.
said something shocking: Taxes ought to be reduced, not raised. We cut the tax
rates for the working folks of
together we pulled out of a tailspin and created 17\1/2\ million good jobs.
That's more than a quarter of a million new jobs a month -- every month -- for
68 consecutive months.
New homes are being built. New car sales reached record levels. Exports are starting to climb again. Factory capacity is approaching maximum use. You know, I've noticed they don't call it Reaganomics anymore. [Laughter]
As for inflation, well, that too has changed. We changed it from the time it hit 18 percent in 1980 down to between 3.5 and 4 percent. Interest rates are less than half of what they were. In fact, nearly half of all mortgages taken out on family homes in 1986 and more than a third of those in 1987 were actually old loans being refinanced at the new lower rates. Young families have finally been able to get some relief. These, too, were our changes.
rebuilt our Armed Forces. We liberated
Audience members. Reagan! Reagan! Reagan!
The President. Today we have the first
treaty in world history to eliminate an entire class of
And virtually all this change occurred -- and continues to occur -- in spite of the resistance of those liberal elites who loudly proclaim that it's time for a change. They resisted our defense buildup. They resisted our tax cuts. They resisted cutting the fat out of government. And they resisted our appointments of judges committed to the law and the Constitution.
And it's time for some more straight talk. This time it's about the budget deficit. Yes, it's much too high. But the President doesn't vote for a budget, and the President can't spend a dime. Only the Congress can do that. They blame the defense increases for the deficit, yet defense spending today, in real dollars, is almost exactly what it was 6 years ago. In a 6-year period, Congress cut defense spending authority by over $125 billion. And for every $1 reduction in defense outlays, they added $2 to domestic spending.
Audience members. Booo!
The President. Now, if they had passed my first budget, my first spending plan in 1982, the cumulative outlays and deficits would have been $207 billion lower by 1986. Every single year I've been in office, I have supported and called for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, and the liberals have said no every year. I called for the line-item veto, which 43 Governors have, to cut fat in the budget, and the liberals have said no. Every year I've attempted to limit their wild spending sprees, and they've said no. They would have us believe that runaway budget deficits began in 1981 when we took office. Well, let me tell you something: The fact is, when they began their war on poverty in the middle sixties, from 1965 through 1980 -- in just those 15 years, the budgets increased to five times what they had been, and the deficits went up to 52 times what they had been before their war on poverty. Now, don't we know that if they're elected their answer will be the one they've relied on in the past, and that is higher taxes.
Audience members. Booo!
The President. The other party has controlled the House of Representatives for 52 out of the last 56 years.
Audience members. Booo!
The President. They've controlled the Senate also for 46 of those years.
Audience members. Booo!
The President. Where we really need a
change is to elect Republican majorities in both Houses. And then George Bush
can have a team that will protect your tax cuts; keep
Early in the first term, we set out to reduce Federal regulations that had been imposed on the people, on businesses, and on local and State governments. Today I'm proud to say that we have eliminated so many unnecessary regulations that government-required paperwork imposed on citizens, businesses, and other levels of government has been reduced by an estimated 600 million man-hours of paperwork a year.
And George was there.
Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
The President. No, you haven't heard it all yet. George Bush headed up that task force that eliminated those regulations.
In 1980 and before, it took 7 weeks to get a Social Security card. Now it takes 10 days. It only takes 10 days to get a passport. It used to take 43 days. It took 75 days to get an export license. Now it's only 17 days, and for some countries, only 5. It took over 100 days to process a claim for a Department of Housing and Urban Development Title I loan -- 100 days. It now takes less than one-fourth of that -- 22 days. I think these specifics suggest there is a new level of competent management in the Departments of our government. George played a major role in everything that we have accomplished in these 8 years.
early on, we had a foreign policy problem. Our NATO allies were under the
threat of Soviet intermediate-range missiles, and NATO had no equivalent
deterrent. Our effort to provide a deterrent -- Pershing and ground-launched
cruise missiles on the NATO line -- resulted in political problems for our NATO
allies. There was objection on the part of many other people to deployment of
our missiles. George represented us in
None of our achievements happened by accident, but only because we overcame liberal opposition to put our programs in place. And without George Bush to build on those policies, everything we've achieved will be at risk. All the work, sacrifice, and effort of the American people could end in the very same disaster that we inherited in 1981.
Because I feel so strongly about the work that must continue and the need to protect our gains for the American family and for national security, I want to share with you the qualities we should seek in the next President. We need someone who's big enough and experienced enough to handle tough and demanding negotiations with Mr. Gorbachev because this is no time to gamble with on-the-job training. We need someone who's prepared to be President and who has the commitment to stand up for you against massive new taxes and who will keep alive the hope and promise that keeps our economy strong. It'll take somebody who has seen this office from the inside, who senses the danger points, will be cool under fire, and knows the range of answers when the tough questions come. Well, that's the George Bush that I've seen up close, when the staff and Cabinet members have closed the door and when the two of us are alone -- someone who is not afraid to speak his mind and who can cut to the core of an issue, someone who never runs away from a fight, never backs away from his beliefs, and never makes excuses.
office is not mine to give; only you, the people, can do that. But I love
Audience members. Bush in '88! Bush in '88! Bush in '88!
The President. Okay. All right.
George Bush, I'll know as we approach the new millenium
our children will have a future secure with a nation at peace and protected
against aggression. We'll have a prosperity that spreads the blessings of our
abundance and opportunity across all
So, George, I'm in your corner. I'm ready to volunteer a little advice now and then and offer a pointer or two on strategy, if asked. I'll help keep the facts straight or just stand back and cheer. But, George, just one personal request: Go out there and win one for the Gipper.
you can imagine, I'm sorely tempted to spend the rest of this evening telling
the truth about our friends who met in
is the last Republican convention I will address as President. Maybe you'll see
your way to inviting me back sometime. But like so many of us, as I said
earlier, I started out in the other party. But 40 years ago, I cast my last
vote as a Democrat. It was a party in which Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised
the return of power to the States. It was a party where Harry Truman committed
a strong and resolute
And what ideals those have been. Our party speaks for human freedom, for the sweep of liberties that are at the core of our existence. We do not shirk from our duties to preserve freedom so it can unfold across the world for yearning millions. We believe that lasting peace comes only through strength and not through the good will of our adversaries. We have a healthy skepticism of government, checking its excesses at the same time we're willing to harness its energy when it helps improve the lives of our citizens. We have pretty strong notions that higher tax receipts are no inherent right of the Federal Government. We don't think that inflation and high interest rates show compassion for the poor, the young, and the elderly. We respect the values that bind us together as families and as a nation. For our children, we don't think it's wrong to have them committed to pledging each day to the ``one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.'' And we have so many requirements in their classrooms; why can't we at least have one thing that is, voluntary, and that is allow our kids to repair quietly to their faith to say a prayer to start the day, as Congress does. For the unborn, quite simply, shouldn't they be able to live to become children in those classrooms?
Those are some of our principles. You in this room, and millions like you watching and listening tonight, are selfless and dedicated to a better world based on these principles. You aren't quitters. You walk not just precincts but for a cause. You stand for something -- the finest warriors for free government that I have known. Nancy and I thank you for letting us be a part of your tireless determination to leave a better world for our children. And that's why we're here, isn't it? A better world?
know I've said this before, but I believe that God put this land between the
two great oceans to be found by special people from every corner of the world
who had that extra love for freedom that prompted them to leave their homeland
and come to this land to make it a brilliant light beam of freedom to the
world. It's our gift to have visions, and I want to share that of a young boy
who wrote to me shortly after I took office. In his letter he said, ``I love
our children turn the pages of our lives, I hope they'll see that we had a
vision to pass forward a nation as nearly perfect as we could, where there's
decency, tolerance, generosity, honesty, courage, common sense, fairness, and
piety. This is my vision, and I'm grateful to God for blessing me with a good
life and a long one. But when I pack up my bags in
Twilight? Twilight? Not
lit a prairie fire a few years back. Those flames were fed by passionate ideas
and convictions, and we were determined to make them run all -- burn, I should
say, all across
There's still a lot of brush to clear out at the ranch, fences that need repair, and horses to ride. But I want you to know that if the fires ever dim, I'll leave my phone number and address behind just in case you need a foot soldier. Just let me know, and I'll be there, as long as words don't leave me and as long as this sweet country strives to be special during its shining moment on Earth.
Twilight, you say? Listen to H.G. Wells. H.G. Wells says: ``The past is but the beginning of a beginning, and all that is and has been is but the twilight of the dawn.'' Well, that's a new day -- our sunlit new day -- to keep alive the fire so that when we look back at the time of choosing, we can say that we did all that could be done -- never less.
you. Good night. God bless you, and God bless
Note: The President spoke
at in the